agile and the importance of the whole with ola berg

Podcast Ep. 109: Agile and the Importance of the “Whole” with Ola Berg

agile and the importance of the whole with ola berg
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Episode Description:

This week, Dan Neumann is excited to be joined by Ola Berg who is connecting virtually all the way from Sweden. Ola is a change strategist and agile guide for Nimbletribe, with a vision that every workplace should be a safe and exciting environment where people look after each other and are super productive — not because he believes we should be superhumans, but because of the great procedures, collaborations, and culture we can achieve through agility.

In Dan and Ola’s conversation, they discuss agile and the importance of connecting the “whole”, the mindset, the process, and the culture, in order to achieve true, “whole” agility. Dan shares his tips for agile coaches and guides alike on how to be more holistic in you approach to an agile transformation and the actionable steps you can take to get there.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Key Takeaways

  • What does connecting the “whole” refer to in agility?
    • It is more than just applying the agile mindset, following the process, or focusing on culture; you need to consider all three together
    • You need to consider and address all three (i.e. the “whole”): mindset, process, and culture for agile to be successful
  • Ola’s advice in approaching an agile transformation as a whole: 
    • Creating a bubble of a common culture where the agile values are prevalent is a crucial element in creating harmony between the process, culture, and the structure
    • Insulate the change from the rest of the organization so that it does not get killed off
    • The change always needs to be contained (if it is not it will spread too fast and will break things)
    • You need to introduce instability to the organization but not all at once (otherwise it will collapse)
    • You need to have elements in the change that are accepted by everyone
    • You need to be a team player and collaborate
    • Change needs to occur within but also in the API
    • Early on, create a map so that you can get situational awareness of what’s going on (from the process of how people are working, the culture, and the structure)
    • “Ultimately, it’s not my job as an agile coach to change things. The only ones who can change things are the people doing the work. So our job must be very much directed towards creating awareness.” — Ola Berg
    • An agile coach or guide must work as if they could be removed at any time; it is crucial that they make sure the team has the same awareness of the environment as themselves
    • The goal as a guide is to instill awareness in all three of these topics: The culture, the processes, and the structure, at the same time
    • Ultimately, the goal is that the team(s) will be able to do this themselves as well as the organization’s collective ability and maturity
    • The goal is a mature, self-directed team (but in order to get there, it is important to be prepared as an agile coach to be able to play a more “parental” role to one of an advisor)
    • Dump any preconceived notions of what it means to be an agile coach when entering a new organization and instead look at the current situation (i.e. “How do I need to act now in this situation?”, “How mature are the teams?”, etc.)
    • Provide plenty of encouragement at the beginning and present more challenges as the team matures
    • If you’re ever unsure as an agile coach, you can directly ask your team (i.e. “Do you want me to be more prescriptive, or do you want me to guide you through an exploration process?”)
    • Take small steps first before taking a big leap so you can get a growing understanding of what the big leap/s you need to take is/are)

Mentioned in this Episode:

Transcript [This transcript is auto-generated and may not be completely accurate in its depiction of the English language or rules of grammar.]

Intro: [00:03] Welcome to the Agile Coaches’ Corner by AgileThought. The podcast for practitioners and leaders seeking advice to refine the way they work and pave the path to better outcomes. Now here’s your host, coach, and agile expert, Dan Neumann.

Dan Neumann: [00:16] Welcome to the Agile Coaches’ Corner. I’m your host, Dan Neumann and pleased today to be joined by Ola Berg, who is a described as an agile guide, guiding people through an agile terrain. And he’s joining us from the terrain of Sweden today. So I’m very excited to have this far distant.

Ola Berg: [00:36] I’m. I’m pretty excited to be, to be far distant because you’re just as far distant to me that I am to you.

Dan Neumann: [00:44] I think my math teacher, Mr. Perschbacker would have made me write a proof about if it’s X for me to you, it’s also an X from you to me. I think I did that in high school, but we don’t need to go too far down my, my secondary schooling there. Um, we were talking a little bit in prep for this call about agile and the importance of connecting the whole, you know, a lot of times there’s a gosh, we, uh, we do a Scrum class, let’s say, or we say, you know, you’re, uh, the culture, the culture needs some work or the processes you’re too rigid, et cetera. And your perspective is, is one of connecting the whole.

Ola Berg: [01:28] Yeah, exactly. Because what I believe it’s kind of a beginner’s mistake that you you’re, you kind of fall in love with the agile methods and you, you, you use them and you’re asked to teach others about them. And you, you talk a lot about the fantastic things that go with them and the people you teach them to, or, or show them to, they don’t get the same results, even though they do exactly the same things and you start to consider and you read blogs and you go to conferences and people are talking about, well, the mindset is not there. You need to approach it with a mindset. Then all of a sudden you believe that it’s all in the mindset, that the process things that you are teaching others. So showing others that they didn’t matter. And, um, I’ve seen that happen. And a lot of times I’ve seen that within myself years ago. Uh, um, because what happens then is that people are starting to talk a lot about the agile mindset and mindset mindset. And it tried to spread the mindset, but when the people is trying to spread the mindset too, they try to apply the mindset, but they still don’t get the fantastic results. And they’re, they don’t, they’re people tend to be clueless. The mindset isn’t there, the, the process, what is it, the mindset or the process, which is where we need to step in and say, Hey, trying to consider both, try to consider both the actual things that you do now that you didn’t do yesterday, combined with a new way of thinking about what you did now, what will happen if you consider both? And it’s surprising how seldom people have fought in those terms, that time try to be people try to tend to think in terms of one or the other.

Dan Neumann: [03:22] Yeah, it’s I think it’s, and it’s a beginners mistake, you know, uh, I remember going to a, uh, pre, uh, certified scrum master class back in the day, it wasn’t the professional Scrum, it was the certified Scrum Master. And, you know, you can learn the events and you can get some tips for how to do an effective sprint planning, how to be a product owner in the product owner class, how to organize your backlog. But those are, those are the process pieces, the mindset piece of gosh, how do we actually deliver an increment of value in somewhere between one week and four weeks? How might we slice this down so that we get, um, smaller design, little bits of value instead of really big bang types of value. Um, you can do the, you can do the events, follow those mechanics, but without a shift in thinking as well, you’re going to get lackluster results.

Ola Berg: [04:19] And if you do the other way around, if you have this mindset that yes, we should replan everyday and we should replan every second week and so forth. And we have that mindset, but we don’t have the processes in place to actually do it. It doesn’t do. It’s an, a good either. We need to have both. And when applying both, you’re actually challenging a lot of assumptions that are in place about planning, about collaboration, about what value is and so forth. And, and while doing both, you’re challenging them. Um, the, um, the current way of thinking about things that people normally have in your organization start to show normally you don’t see how people, how you think, unless you’re thinking your current thinking get challenged, but in the very moment, it gets challenged. You start to realize how you actually think, and you start to feel questioned on and so forth. So there comes the thing with culture as well, culture as in our default beliefs on default behaviors and different situations that we put forth. And from what I have learned after doing this for many years now, is that yeah, you really, really need to consider all three of them. You really need to consider how we do things to actual processes and our mindset, our, our, um, our individual culture around it and how we talk about it. And then what happens is that we actually start to, to look at the structural things, how we are organized, how, how the incentives are, are organized, how, how mandates are distributed, all the structural things, and you get another aha moment where you realize that, yeah, we also need to consider that the structural framework around which, or within where we do our, or day to day work, where we do these processes, where we, where we have all these things and so forth.

Dan Neumann: [06:36] No, I love that. Right. So the process, the mindset and the culture, and I liked you describe mindset almost as an individual culture. It’s your individual

Ola Berg: [06:45] Mindset and culture is basically the kind of connected or the same thing. Yeah. But if it kinds of builds upon or challenges or exist within a structure,

Dan Neumann: [06:58] We we’re, uh, we’re, we’re, we’ve mentioned, uh, you’re, you’re from Sweden. And of course there’s some very big multinationals in Sweden. Um, we don’t need to name names, but, um, you know, you’ve got some, some really big global companies there and some of them are well known for agility and others, I imagine, are somewhere along their agile journey themselves. And you were talking about, uh, prior to clicking record that, um, you know, they’re in different parts of the world, there are different cultures, and maybe you could share with the listeners a little bit about how the process mindset, culture, piece taking care of all those facets maybe would fit in with, uh, with a multi-national.

Ola Berg: [07:41] Yeah. Because since, since, um, I started to, to do this, uh, from a teaching perspective, first I was a systems developer myself. And, uh, we started dabbling with, uh, extreme programming and with Scrum in like 2006, 2007. And I got interested in hook because I been looking for, for, for these, how can we collaborate in order to create great software? Because it felt like there was so much potential that didn’t came to be, thanks of all the, the, the structure, some processes, some of them, things that we had around developing software in the, in the world of, of, uh, of enterprises and organizations, and to see on the, these, um, quite big multinational players that we actually have in, in Sweden, they got interested because they saw that this is, this has a huge potential to, to, without your methods, a huge potential to, to make us more nimble, more, more, smooth, more, more, and more able to, to deliver great services. And they run into this hurdle of that. Agile is very much about distributing authority to the people, closest to the value creation, making them able to actually make decisions. People have the greatest knowledge need to be able to make the decisions about how to develop the software of the services further. And in many of the cultures around the world, where wages are low uh, where, where can you get programmers are sheep. One of the, the, the things with these countries, what they had, uh, culture or cultures that were fairly, they were very compared to, for instance, California or Sweden, they had were pretty authoritarian or, or had a lots of what was called in cultural studies of power distance. Um, the, the idea that, that the person in power was the person with knowing the best and the person in power was the expert and, and obedience was the value of its own. Whereas in agile it’s expertise of the actual developer or, or actual business analyst, or the actual person understanding the current reality, that that’s the expertise that we want to, to, to make transparent and then make integrated and, and build decisions upon them. And they, I mean, it’s expensive to move their expertise to the center, to a business, uh, uh, to a decision making center it’s much cheaper and easier to distribute the power to them so that they can make the decisions. Um, that was kind of hard when you work during collaborated between people who were grown up in a, in a, in a society where, where, um, personal initiative and under, um, self-leadership was something that was, uh, encourage compared to, if you were, um, a person who has grown up in a society where self-leadership was to be shunned, you, you were there in order to be, and that creates a distance between people and different kind of have a hurdle for agile culture to work. But when we start to work with that, start to call these things out, start to ask those questions, is it really so that the, that your boss knows more than you do is, is really so that, that okay, if you make a decision, will that, uh, that your boss doesn’t approve of, will that make your boss look stupid or not? And why is that? And how can we make your boss look less stupid? And how can we, how can we enable this kind of self-leadership and, and do that. And when we, when we did that, when we start to actually work with these cultural issues, we can close it to one another. And we ended up in creating a bubble of our own team culture, or several teams sharing the same culture, our own train culture, or nexus culture, our little cluster of people having this. We are these people and all of a sudden, didn’t matter if we were in India, Vietnam, Sweden, Belarus, whatever we, we, we were kind of, of, of the same. So creating this bubble of a common culture where our values, our agile values were prevalent, then people stepped out of that culture into the normal day-to-day life. And that was perfectly fine. But when they came to work, they kind of entered this bubble. And that was a really crucial element, creating a, uh, a bubble where we’re culture structure and process were in harmony. And we could do that no matter where in the world we were, we could create that bubble for our own. We could create our own microcosm cosmos off of that.

Dan Neumann: [13:00]
I like that description of a, a microcosm in a bubble. It almost makes me think of in, in programming and I haven’t done any meaningful programming in a very long time, but, um, you talk about interfaces in programming. So if I’ve got a, an API that does some business logic, there’s an interface to the rest of the world. And your bubble to me almost sounds like changing the code, the behavior within that, but keeping, keeping that interface to the rest of the organization, maybe, um, maybe you keep that relatively constant as opposed to trying to shift the entire organization over, um, so that you can create the bubble without, um, maybe, uh, disrupting in an unhealthy way, the rest of those organizations, cause a team, a team in Belarus or India, or even in Sweden, isn’t going to change a multi-billion dollar multinational culture as a whole, but in order to make progress, insulating that change from the rest of the organization so that it doesn’t get, uh, killed off by the DNR, by the, uh, uh, the antibodies by the antibodies and the rest of the organization. Yeah.

Ola Berg: [14:10]
It’s very much about creating a, uh, I mean, change holders need to be contained because if it’s not contained, it will spread too fast and we’ll, we’ll actually break things and we’re not here to break things. If we want change, we need to introduce some kind of instability to the organism or to do to the organization, but we cannot make the whole organization unstable at once because then the organization will die. Actually, it’s, it’s kind of, you can look at it as a look at the coronavirus as a preamble. The, one of the characteristics of the coronavirus is that it kind of creates this bubble where, where, where the now the, the, the, the shell around the virus is kind of accepted into the body or, or, or, or, but what’s happening underneath is something that that is, is, is changing, uh, in the case of coronavirus is changing for the worse, but in terms of agile, it’s actually trying to change for the better, but you need change. And so, yes, you need to have elements in the change that are accepted, by everyone so that they are accepting you and accepting what you deliver. And we are, yeah, of course you can change how you deliver stuff, but as long as you do this and this and this and this, you cannot disrupt everything. So, yeah, being, being, uh, being a nice team player is very important. Uh, but then also at the same time, being a nice team player, vs the, the current game, the current strategy, the, the current rules, but also at the same time, questioning that and looking at okay, but how can we improve this? How could we, we are playing along with your rules now. Yes, we are changing how we work internally. But yes, we, in, in, in essence, we are following the, we are a good fit in the overall arching puzzle, but actually let’s have a discussion on the puzzle as well. Let’s have a discussion on the interface between us and you. Could we change the way we’re collaborating also. So, so that you have this idea of this notion of the change needs to occur within, but also in the intersection or, or in the, the, you call it API, the, the interface towards the rest of the world at the same time.

Dan Neumann: [16:37] Yeah, I think so you talked about the process, the mindset and the culture, kind of those, those three facets and needing to, to shift and address that and address all three, right?

Ola Berg: [16:51] Yeah. I actually the, the process and the culture where we, which is both the individual mindset and the culture and the structures as well structured, let’s say I’m buying from foundation. Yeah. That structure as well.

Dan Neumann: [17:03] Yeah. One of the things that, uh, I probably still am challenged by as an agile coach is how long some of these changes take, you know, it’s, you’ve got an organization and you want to make changes and you want teams to deliver value, and you want to see, uh, the ability to self-organize. You want to see emerge in architecture. You want to get people closer to the customers. All the want, want, want, there’s so many different places. Um, what do you use as a, as a way of, uh, uh, choosing your path through what, what have you seen work inform your path when there’s so many different options, so many different ways of doing this, and at the same time, you can’t change everything. It would be inappropriate to, to change everything. Um, even if you knew what their changes needed to be, um, which would be.

Ola Berg: [17:56] One of my best tricks. There is too, too early on, try to create a map so that you get the situational awareness. What’s going on, both from a perspective of process, how do people work and culture? What, what, what are the, the assumptions that people have on, how are we talking and how are we behaving towards one another and so forth, and also the, the, the structure and, and, and having a map for that and having words for what’s going on. So you can start to discussion in all three fields at the same time, so that you don’t all of a sudden realize that, Oh, we should have started this discussion about our culture way back now. It’s kind of seems too late. So some so that you create awareness in everyone, because ultimately it’s not my job or your job as an agile guide or coach to, to change things. The only one who can change things are the people who are doing the work. So our job must be very much directed towards creating awareness. Do you see that this is going on? Do you understand that your current culture is this and this and that, then can you see how, if you want to change this, can you see how further down the road this structure will pop up and block you, so that they also understand the terrain? Because you can, I mean, if you, if you have a guide guiding people through a terrain, you can, yeah. You can looking blindly at the guide and follow what the guide says all the time, where you can listen to the guide when the guide points out, things like, Hey, look at this. This is a way forward here. And here’s the danger here and so forth so that you get the same awareness about the environment that the guide has. And we as guides must work as if we were to be removed at any time, we could get lost as well. We could die in this terrain as well, or, or so, so that the people who are guiding are left on their own. So, so that we don’t just to say to them, to follow us, but listen to what we say, um, try to lead yourself through this jungle. So instilling awareness around all these three topics, the culture, the processes, and the structure at the same time with our clients and reminding them, we are not doing this for you. We are doing this so that you will ultimately be able to do this yourself.

Dan Neumann: [20:54] What came to mind for me, there was a phase where I got interested in triathlon. And one of the triathlons I got to do is called the escape from Alcatraz. So Alcatraz Island is I think, fairly famous in the U S it might not mean anything to folks outside the U S so if not, I apologize, but Alcatraz Island is out in the middle of San Francisco Bay, and there are very strong currents that go back and forth. And, um, there’s, there’s been some escape attempts, and they’re not sure anybody actually ever successfully escaped, but for the triathlon, they take you out on the barge. It’s no longer a prison out there. And then you jump into the water and you swim for San Francisco’s shoreline. It’s roughly a mile and a half or so, but as part of the information session, the night before I went and there was essentially a guide like you, you had talked about as, as an agile guide and based on the way the current, it was going to be moving up to the ocean at, uh, several miles an hour and a couple of miles an hour. And, uh, which if you’re getting pushed out into the Pacific ocean, that’s generally a bad thing. It turns a mile and a half swim into a much longer. So, but he said, Hey, there’s a, there’s a communication tower up on the bluff. And you want to, if you’re a fast swimmer, you want to aim to the right of it. If you’re an average swimmer, you aim towards the tower. And if you’re slower, aim left of it, because the current will push you to where you want to finish. And then there was also a place in the Harbor where they had dumped a bridge several years ago, not terribly enlightened environmentally, but they destroyed a bridge. They dumped it into the Harbor. And he said, it’s going to get really Rocky. A couple of hundred yards in the waves are going to become intense. Don’t worry. Just keep going. You’ll get through it if you keep swimming. And that sounds to me like the, the agile guide that you were talking about, and that they’re not there to do the swimming for you. They’re not there with you when you hit the Rocky waters or, or to tell you faster, slower left or right. Uh, but there are, there are tips. And then there was also a guy in a kayak when I did get near the shore. When I popped up, I realized I was left of where I should have been. And he’s like, you need to be over there and kept me from swimming. God knows where I would’ve ended up. Um, and so it’s those tips, Hey, we’re not doing it for you. We’re helping you to do it. Here’s some things to keep in mind. The decisions are still ultimately yours, but here are some things you might want to think about as you go through. And as the terrain changes, as you evolve your agility.

Ola Berg: [23:17] There, there is a temporal aspect of this that I’ve seen. This is very often forgotten when people are picturing themselves as agile coaches, they tend to be the coach who, who are helping or advising people who are ultimately doing the work on their own. And I won’t leave them by the hand. And I will direct, I will never direct, I will always ask questions and so forth and what they tend to forget this, that, that actually, you need to be aware of not only the situation, but also the maturity of the people you lead. I mean, it’s one thing to, to, to lead a bunch of athletes athletes through in, in a forest. And, um, another thing to, to, to lead a kindergarten class. And, and actually we, we, we can be, but I mean, even, even if we individually can be, be smart, smart adult humans in, in the context, the organization, we can behave very much like kindergarten students, like four years old, because ultimately it’s about the, our collective ability and that collective ability in the beginning of our journey might not be that good, no matter how major we are as individuals together, we, we might be less, uh, less major. And the it’s very important for the agile coach to understand that they should be able to, to take on all kinds of roles, both the most, or more kind of directive or parent role almost, and the role of just, um, advice or please, yeah. Swim, swim between fast and swim to the right. Uh, so, so, um, the very much in the organizations of today, I feel the notions around leadership or the images around leadership tends to be very much like, like the leader always has kind of apparent that the direct report, all this is very much as a child. Um, the, the, um, you’re almost focused around your boss, like you were, you’re focused to your parent or your primary caregiver when you were little and, um, that the relationship gets stuck there. Um, what we need to do in order to be able to work agile, we need to, to help people to, to have a more mature view on work, where they work together as a self-directive, uh, director team, and have much more ability, but in order to take them to bring them there, we must be prepared to act both as a parent, carrying their little baby and the parent having grown up children that have, uh, grown far beyond them, we must be able to, to, to, uh, do, uh, do everything along the line. So be, be, be, be, um, depending on the situation, the situational awareness, which means that any preconceived ideal of what it’s mean to be an agile coach, we must dump it and look at the current situation. Where do I, how do I need to act now in this situation, how major is people here? How, what is, do I need to take them by the hand? Or should I just advise some or anything in between?

Dan Neumann: [26:56]
No, I think, uh, I think that’s a really interesting perspective. And so to tie it into a specific example, the agile principles say at regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective. And then they tune and adjust its behavior accordingly. And if you’ve got a team that’s never done that, it is appropriate to say, Hey, we’re going to do a retrospective. Here’s the framework we’re going to follow. You know, here’s where we’re going to go through it. Boom, boom, boom. Uh, and if you’ve got a more mature team that they have the mindset they’ve been doing, um, this inspection and adaptation of their behavior, you could then maybe take a different stance in a challenging situation. Hey, you know, have you included this in a retrospective, you know, what have you done to try to reflect and improve your processes? And they might go, Oh gosh, we should do a retro, this framework, this type of, uh, perspective a, but to take a team that’s, um, new to agility, maybe never, never done Scrum, or they haven’t stepped back and done a Kaizen event or whatever framework you’re talking about. Um, to just throw the concept out there, isn’t going to be a helpful behavior necessarily.

Ola Berg: [28:07] Exactly. I often, I, I often do the trainings, agile coaches and could be former managers, project managers, or, or Scrum Masters who want to step further and they often ask me, okay, how, how much direction should you do in, in, in retrospectives? Or should you react when the team doesn’t want to bring up one of the sensitive topics for instance, or, or how challenging can you be in the retrospectives? And I often lead them into discussion. Okay. How did you determine that? Because, I mean, if, if there is a team new to gelati and they are only bringing up the river superficial things, and you can sense that there are deeper conflict here, there are deeper things that you really need to take care of. Okay. Do I challenging them? Do I bring up the deeper conflicts at that point in time? No. Normally not. a lead often lead, depending on how much time I will have with them, but, but normally I’m there for at least two months, I lead them through, through it so that they get the experience of actually taking charge of their own problems, even if they’re only dealing with the superficial problem. And after that, I can lead them in a second round and a third round so that they get the whole of the very method. And then we can start to zoom in on the more sensitive issues, because then they have grown confidence to deal with issues. And if you need, if you don’t have the confidence to deal with them with an easy issue, of course you cannot deal with a sensitive issue. So you need to build a confidence. First. Also, when, when, when, uh, I mean, we have a little kid on the kid says to you, you say, Oh, hooray, yes, you are so good. Even they perform a real, real bad, but you say, yes, you’re excellent. You’re excellent because I, I see your, your, what, what, what, what you’re trying to accomplish. That’s great. And now you’re, you need, uh, encouragement, but then you grow up a bit and now you need to be challenged. Yes, that was good. But have you considered, what would it take you to be even better? That is not something you say to a little kid, but maybe later on. So having that situational awareness, where is where all of these people, uh, is very important too. So, so that you don’t get into in preconceived ideas on how you should behave as a coach. I understand that you need to support them along the line and they can be at very different places.

Dan Neumann: [30:43] I love it. Right. You have, you have a bunch of tools at your disposal as an agile coach. Hopefully if you’re, if you’re an agile coach, who’s, who’s competent and capable, you have several tools. And then it’s a matter of figuring out which tool to apply in the given situation or trying a tool. And sometimes going oh, that didn’t work, let’s try a different tool. It’s, let’s try this, this facet like, like a scout as, as you were talking about an agile guide, send a scout ahead to go see what the terrain looks like. And then, so you don’t waste the whole team’s energy going there, but, but you, you probe sense and respond to that.

Ola Berg: [31:20] Yeah, exactly. And yeah. Probe, sense respond. Absolutely. Do something. See what it leads because it’s a complex dynamic system. Also that one’s home. I think that often stress also is that when you, as a, as an agile coach, uh, have all these considerations on these questions, we’ll take them to the team as well. Step, step in there and say, well, I’m not sure how much I would like to challenge you. What do you say, team? How much did you want to be challenged by me? I have some, some, uh, experience from before teams like you, on the other hand, those teams, the situation they had, wasn’t really exactly like you, do you want me to be prescriptive or do you want me to guide you through an exploration process? So you take these questions. And I often do that when I do one-on-one coaching with other coaches and they ask me this in this situation, what should I do in this situation? I said, well, from my experience, I could guess I can make a guest that you should do this and that, but have you asked the team, how are you also team? How much they want to be challenged? Yeah,

Dan Neumann: [32:43] No, that’s, that’s wonderful. And as a consultancy and agile thought as a consultancy. And so with our clients, it’s important to understand how much do they want to get better too. And Steven Granese who leads our practices has brought this up more recently, a few times. Are they looking for a big organizational transformation? Or maybe they just want to get a little better at Scrum. Maybe they want to try that Kanban thing they’ve heard about. Maybe they have no interest in the HR conversations that might enable team agility and not reward individual behavior. Yeah. And so I love that. How much, how much challenges appropriately at the team level at the organization level? That’s profound question.

Ola Berg: [33:22] And, and bring that question to the teams themselves. Uh, I asked them, ask the coaches, okay. What do you believe will happen if you were to say that to them? And they say, well, they will be perplexed because they have never asked themselves that. And I would say the, well, maybe that’s exactly the exercise that they need. I need to start to consider being more reflective on their own journey and start to take their own take command of their own journey. Or, uh, the, um, there is wisdom here from, from Toyota. I believe. Uh, we have these two concepts, the concept of Kaizen, which is very much about taking small steps, forwards, to worth a lofty goal. And, and, and after a while you will get there almost like the, the hair on the turtle and or probable. Um, but then you come, you reach off and reach a point where incremental small improvements doesn’t give you the result. You want them. That’s where you prepare for the, the jump, the leap, the reorganization, the restructuring, the, the, the huge event. And, uh, one huge difference between what I believe is on your different approach. And, and, and, uh, more, more common approaches is that people tend to start with they start, start with considering the great leap. I think that we should do the great leap first, and then we start to adjust it in small steps. Uh, so which basically means that you make the great big leap without knowing and understanding where to you leap or where from while if you go the other way around and taking the small steps first, then you get the growing understanding on what big leaps you need to take. And then you can take the big leap and you will be more accurate at it. So that question, how much do you as a client want to change could also be, be rephrased to how much do you as a client want to change right now, given what you need, what you understand now, and how much would you like to change later on?

Dan Neumann: [35:44] Yeah, that’s, um, that’s a really profound perspective on, you know, do we, do we do the big leap or in software, the big bang we play on the whole thing up front, which is a very common approach. And, and we’ve seen the inability for that approach to succeed in waterfall methods, as well as an organizational change. I used to throw the, throw the teams up in the air and reorganize them all as opposed to, Hey, let’s get a little bit better at what we’re doing. Let’s make a little better, a little better, little better. And then after a while, maybe little improvements don’t work, right? And then it’s like, then they also have the muscle of doing little changes and a bigger change, might be more appropriate.

Ola Berg: [36:24] Because you, you, while you change, you’re not only changing what to change. You also change your ability to change every little change you do builds your your change muscle, every little step you do will prepare you for a bigger leap. You will grow the ability to change, which is a, is as much as important as the change itself, if you even more important.

Dan Neumann: [36:53] That’s wonderful. Well, Oh, I, um, I really appreciate that you took some time and you joined from Sweden and, um, you know, hopefully you didn’t miss your half hour of daylight today because we’re in the, we’re in the winter. So I very much appreciate that and sharing on, um, really being, being holistic in an approach with the process and the mindset and the culture, anything, anything you want to share to before we leave?

Ola Berg: [37:21] No, uh, that we should all remember that we all know very little of what we’re doing, even for our experts and what people are doing. Stuff are experts on what they’re doing. We are experts, but even though we are experts, we know very, very little, there are so much more to learn, and there are even more to learn when we take our expertise and try to blend that with the other people’s expertise. And we create something really good together. And it’s something we, we don’t know anything about what that lead us to, but that’s really an exciting thing to discover that future together. So, so what I really would like to, to encourage everyone to do is to, to understand that how little they know themselves and try to seek others, uh, company. And I’m trying to do some really cool things together.

Dan Neumann: [38:19] Yeah. If you had together so much more can be done. So wonderful. Thank you very much Ola, appreciate your joy. Thank you.

Ola Berg: [38:26] Thank you. All right.

Outro: [38:29] This has been the Agile Coaches’ Corner podcast brought to you by AgileThought. The views, opinions and information expressed in this podcast are solely those of the hosts and the guests, and do not necessarily represent those of AgileThought. Get the show notes and other helpful tips for this episode and other episodes at

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